D&D Next (5E) If an option is presented, it needs to be good enough to take. - Page 17




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  1. #161
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post
    The problem is JC, D&D has ALWAYS been a game about combat. That's pretty undeniable. The vast majority of the rules focus on combat and always have. Heck, we went a number of years where the only rules we had were combat oriented. It wasn't until 2e that we started adding more.

    So, why are we trying to change what D&D has always fundamentally been about?
    Because that is not what D&D has fundamentally been about. It has always involved combat. But it isn't about combat. It's about adventure.
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  • #162
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreyICE View Post
    Why, why, why would you take one of the best combat RPGs in the business, the premier combat simulator, the most entertaining combat roleplaying system around, and mess it up in order to allow people to make non-combat characters, something the system wasn't built for at all?

    If your party is truly into you being awful at combat, just use Player Fiat and remove all your combat skills from your character sheet. Seems like a much better solution.
    Feh. Why would you take the most popular general fantasy game in the business with decades worth of examples of people using it for all sorts of exciting adventure, exploration, and intrigue and reduce it to a combat engine?
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  • #163
    Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post
    The problem is JC, D&D has ALWAYS been a game about combat. That's pretty undeniable. The vast majority of the rules focus on combat and always have. Heck, we went a number of years where the only rules we had were combat oriented. It wasn't until 2e that we started adding more.

    So, why are we trying to change what D&D has always fundamentally been about?
    We had a poll about that on this site. The majority voted against it being "about combat". Saying it's undeniable doesn't make it true; the majority of people who voted on this site, in fact, deny it (and as this is where the discussion is taking place, it seems fair to use).

    And as far as editions go, 2e, 3e, and 4e all tried to branch out. Let's keep that up. Each edition evolves the scope or nature of the game, or tries to. So, why change what D&D is "about"? It's how it usually works.
    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    I don't think that there need be any claim or implication that the game is about combat.
    Hussar has explicitly stated as much, and in one post above yours. He also held that position when the poll was posted, and you even disagreed with him in that thread, if I recall.
    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    But I agree with @GreyICE and @Hussar that combat is a fundamental mode of action resolution in D&D.
    I do, too. This doesn't mean that forcing people to consistently use combat (or be proficient) is mandatory. People routinely use other abilities to resolve situations; if you can make a purely combat-oriented character (as past editions have done), why not a purely non-combat character? D&D definitely allows non-combat solutions in every edition.
    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    Anyone who thinks that 3E cares as much about musicianship as about swordsmanship needs to explain the anomaly I identify above: that it distinguishes longsword and scimitar proficiency, yet treats skill with the jazz trumpet and skill with classical flute and skill with folk bagpipes as not worth distinguishing.
    This isn't what I'm talking about. I'm saying that forced proficiency (in any field) isn't desirable. You can bring your point here up again, but as it's not what I'm discussing, I'll leave out further replies to it.
    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    The game has made clear choices about which distinctions it thinks are worth drawing, and which are not. Having made those choices, the rest of the character build rules should affirm them, not occlude or lie about them.
    No need to lie about them. Make it very clear that taking a feat that's not a combat feat makes you worse at combat, and how it will affect your character, your party, and the play style of the game. If people still decide to go with it, then they'll be doing so while informed of what that choice entails. (They should also make it clear what overspecializing leads to, regular specialization, going for a "jack of all trades" feel, etc.)

    And then, you know, expand those fields some more. In my RPG, there's really only one completely combat-based skill (Martial Prowess), and it takes up one page. The Skill chapter is 54 pages long (longest chapter in the book), and Combat is 34 pages (which includes 5 pages on mass combat and 12 on martial maneuvers). Then there's another 21 pages later on about handling weather, fire, poisons, drinking, and so on. Then another 17 pages in Chapter 1 for a background generator, status, calling in favors, fame, income, gaining possessions, reputations, etc. Then another 9 pages on crafting items not covered in the book, pricing them, determining DCs, adding features, etc. That's essentially 101 pages vs 34 pages when it comes to combat vs. non-combat (not getting into listed equipment, magic, traits, special abilities, and the like). When it comes to feats, out of the 11 categories of feats, 6 are combat-based, and 5 aren't (though some are useful in combat, and some combat feats are useful out of combat); that chapter is 24 pages long, so with an uneven split of 8 non-combat and 16 combat, the total is still looking like it's 109 non-combat to 50 combat (well, 107 to 52 if you move the Martial Prowess and Tactics skills over).

    I'm not saying that non-combat needs to dominate the game, or be anywhere near as long as my stuff, but we can definitely expand upon it in 5e. There's a lot of room to grow.
    Quote Originally Posted by GreyICE View Post
    Then Dungeons and Dragons is not the game for you.
    As promised: http://www.enworld.org/forum/new-hor...design-5e.html. Go ahead and look up the back and forth that I had in this thread to get a feel of my feelings on it (the 3/3/3 default and specialization, optional opt-out of 3/3/3, potential combat and non-combat siloing, etc.).
    Quote Originally Posted by GreyICE View Post
    If you truly want to play a total incompetent at combat, build them! But don't build them in a D&D game.
    The option to be bad at combat is bad because...?
    As always, play what you like

  • #164
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    This thread is making me sad.

    D&D is not just about combat. D&D has never been just about combat, in any edition, from 0e to 4e. It's a ridiculous claim to make about any edition, much less all of them.

    Yes, combat is important. Crucial, even, when monsters, treasure, and the taking of the latter from the former are involved. Magic weapons are highly desirable. Magic missile and fireball are iconic. There's even a class called the "fighter" and he's useless outside of a tangle.

    But that's not all it's about, and I still don't get that argument.

    -O

  • #165
    Quote Originally Posted by JamesonCourage View Post
    The option to be bad at combat is bad because...?
    Making a dichotomy between combat and non-combat means that characters who WANT to be effective at combat will be less effective at non-combat. You certainly agree to this. It removes roleplaying opportunities from those characters.

    Combat is central to D&D. This is nearly unavoidable. Yes, adventure, yes this, yes, that, but at the end of the day there's almost always fighting at least once a session. That's a lot more than in most game systems.

    So what you're saying is that EVERY SINGLE combat character should miss out on roleplaying opportunities for the sake of a VERY SMALL number of people who want to play a total combat incompetent.

    Lets turn this around. Why not make it so that everyone has the same roleplaying opportunities that are open to the combat incompetent character? Then if you want to make your character combat incompetent, just use those abilities and ignore the combat abilities you should be getting from your class. Then you're a combat incompetent with all the roleplaying opportunities you want. Isn't that the better solution?

  • #166
    And again you make a clear distinction between combat and role playing. Why can't combat not be part of role playing? Why does it have to be a special snowflake everyone must have/so by design?

  • #167
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreyICE View Post
    Lets turn this around. Why not make it so that everyone has the same roleplaying opportunities that are open to the combat incompetent character? Then if you want to make your character combat incompetent, just use those abilities and ignore the combat abilities you should be getting from your class. Then you're a combat incompetent with all the roleplaying opportunities you want. Isn't that the better solution?
    So if I'm reading this right, you'd have it that characters can be one of:

    A: good at combat and good at roleplaying
    B: good at combat and poor at roleplaying

    I think what's being asked for is more of a trade-off; that if someone wants to be poor at combat they'll somewhat default into being good at non-combat by virtue of the game design. Someone could be passable but not expert at both, but in theory could not be good at both nor be poor at both.

    The whole problem arises from trying to have too much mechanical representation of differences between characters and letting that stand in place of roleplaying a personality and showing the differences that way.

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  • #168
    Quote Originally Posted by GreyICE View Post
    Making a dichotomy between combat and non-combat means that characters who WANT to be effective at combat will be less effective at non-combat. You certainly agree to this. It removes roleplaying opportunities from those characters.
    Make 3/3/3 the baseline. Then you've got what you want. Specialization or hyper-specialization as opt-in (clearly labeled with how it alters play) doesn't upset or remove the roleplay opportunities you talk about.

    If you read the thread and my interactions, let me know what you think of them.
    Quote Originally Posted by GreyICE View Post
    Combat is central to D&D. This is nearly unavoidable. Yes, adventure, yes this, yes, that, but at the end of the day there's almost always fighting at least once a session. That's a lot more than in most game systems.
    I don't want to make a judgement about "most" game systems. But, I agree, the typical D&D session at the typical table probably has at least one combat.
    Quote Originally Posted by GreyICE View Post
    So what you're saying is that EVERY SINGLE combat character should miss out on roleplaying opportunities for the sake of a VERY SMALL number of people who want to play a total combat incompetent.
    This is why I pointed you to that thread. Go read my thoughts on the 3/3/3 default, and specialization / hyper-specialization. Go ahead and make your Sage-Knight as a default character; that's awesome. But, when I want to sacrifice my Knight section (because it doesn't fit my concept) to play the super-smart-bookworm archetype who sucks in combat, I'm okay gaining some more book smarts for losing that stuff. It doesn't need to be an equal trade-off (5/1/1 or 1/4/3 or 2/2/4; not 3/3/3). But when you deny that archetype, which I would say is probably recognizable to most groups, you're closing off roleplaying opportunities.

    Sure, start with 3/3/3 and competence in every pillar. That's awesome, and I support that assumption. Just make a clear, supported, optional opt-out. You know, so you don't kill roleplaying opportunities.
    Quote Originally Posted by GreyICE View Post
    Lets turn this around. Why not make it so that everyone has the same roleplaying opportunities that are open to the combat incompetent character? Then if you want to make your character combat incompetent, just use those abilities and ignore the combat abilities you should be getting from your class. Then you're a combat incompetent with all the roleplaying opportunities you want. Isn't that the better solution?
    It's ignoring rules (which sucks for any system), and not gaining extra mechanical support for your trade-off. The mechanics won't reflect the fiction, either (if someone else picked up the sheet, they'd see he's a competent combatent, etc.). It's all optional in my proposal, anyway.

    Seriously, this is all in the thread I linked. I've discussed this, and answered this question, in that thread. I've talked about what I'd like to see, why I'd like to see it, and how I'd like to see it implemented. I even agreed to a compromise in that thread that seemed to make both sides happy. If you want to spend an hour pouring over it, it might speed the discussion up (for convenience's sake, here's the link again, with the page where I start posting more often: http://www.enworld.org/forum/new-hor...sign-5e-4.html). As always, play what you like
    Last edited by JamesonCourage; Tuesday, 9th October, 2012 at 09:12 AM.
    As always, play what you like

  • #169
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    Quote Originally Posted by KaiiLurker View Post
    Well at least 3.x has a Perform skill to speak of, it is a mediocre one, but that is way better than not having it at all.
    I don't think I agree with this: it soaks up PC build resources and delivers nothing but confusion in return. There is no mechanic, for example, for making my guy able to produce a pleasant tune on the pan pipes without also making him able to play the trumpet and bagpipes - which is to say, that there is no mechanic for capturing anyone but the expert musician. At which point the categories make no sense - in the real world, how many people can play trumpet and flute expertly, yet are hopeless on drums, guitar or piano?

    Plus there is no mechanic for using a performance to please people.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post
    The question is, what function does that Perform skill check serve? As it stands, as written, it allows you to make a small amount of money. That's it. It doesn't affect anything else. So, as you say, it's not really doing anything at all, other than serving as a skill tax on bards.
    I agree with this.

    Which also drives home that, in 4e, there is a way to bring out my bard's skilled mandolin playing: use that to narrate Words of Friendship, and thereby to make a Diplomacy check without having to actually speak to someone.

    Quote Originally Posted by Derren View Post
    Why can't combat not be part of role playing? Why does it have to be a special snowflake everyone must have/so by design?
    Combat can be a part of roleplaying. But in D&D it is a special snowflake because the rules make it so. Just as in Ars Magica spell casting is a special snowflake, and in Trail of Cthulhu investigation is a special combat.

    There are some RPGs I know of that treat non-combat and combat action resolution as basically in terms of action resolution and PC build mechanics: HeroWars/Quest; Maelstrom Storytelling; The Dying Earth; The World, the Flesh and the Devil; and other indie RPGs.

    D&D in any edition has not been such a game. All PCs get level-based attack bonuses and hit points. The bulk of the action resolution mechanics are framed by reference to combat situations (and this is true even in classic D&D, despite the odd protestation to the contrary - in B/X, for example, reaction rolls are clearly framed in terms of negotiations between potential belligerents, and other non-combat action resolution is confined to movement rules, opening doors, and searching for traps and secret doors). The only edition of D&D with conflict resolution mechanics for social situations is 4e, and it has a wide range of utility powers to support that mechanic.

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesonCourage View Post
    if you can make a purely combat-oriented character (as past editions have done), why not a purely non-combat character?

    <snip>

    forced proficiency (in any field) isn't desirable.
    D&D has always had forced proficiency in combat. All D&D thieves can backstab; all D&D rogues can sneak attack. The class table in Gygax's PHB characterises classes primarily by reference to their hit dice and weapon and armour proficiencies.

    It's a feature of the game.

    You can modulate your degree of combat proficiency in any edition - but I don't think it supports the game to allow PCs to be built that bring no combat proficiency to the table. (Of coures that might be metagame proficiency, like a lazy warlord.)

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesonCourage View Post
    The option to be bad at combat is bad because...?
    Because the game doesn't have the scene framing or action resolution mechanics to handle it.

    For example, there are no cross-cut augment mechanics that allow the alchemist, beavering away in his/her tower, to generate metagame buffs to the warrior's fight. And there aren't even aid another mechanics that allow the alchemist to make a check that would produce an ingame aid to the warrior's fight - it's all mediated via complex item creation and crafting rules, that militate against rather than facilitate party play. (Contrast Burning Wheel's linked test rules!)

    There are no rules (other than the Sanctuary spell - an odd spell, give that clerics are pretty buff in combat) for a non-combat PC to stay outside a fight, and not be targeted. (The default framing of combat, when the party is together, is that everyone in the party is a target - 3E deals with this problem for familiars via the ad hoc expedient of giving them Improved Evasion as an ingame EX ability, rather than via the obvious metagame expedient that is required.)

    There are no very adequate rules for soothing the savage breast via negotiation or song once combat is afoot - 4e comes closes to this with its skill challenge mechanics, but the interaction between these and combat resolution is one of the weaker points of that edition's action resolution rules.

    I could give further reasons if you want, but the ones I've already given are pretty illustrative, I think.

  • #170
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    Quote Originally Posted by JamesonCourage View Post
    The option to be bad at combat is bad because...?
    It doesn't exist in D&D, past the first two or three levels.


    Take a 1st level warrior. Someone who is a town guard or something like that. And in some bar somewhere, he decides he doesn't like the face of a 4th level character, one who is "bad at combat". Who wants to bet on the paid professional to win a bar fight with a 4th level character who is "bad at combat"?

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